It is common to repeatedly tune an instrument when it goes out. It can be tuned and will play but requires frequent re-tuning. Lets start with tuning for beginners.
When beginners first learn to play, tuning an instrument properly can be difficult and time consuming. For that reason most of us start out using instrument tuners until we develop an ear for tuning. Here are some common instruments tunings:
(Largest String First)
Guitar: E A D G B E
4 String Bass: E A D G
5 String Bass: B E A D G
6 String Bass: B E A D G C
Mandolin: GG DD AA EE
Ukulele: G C E A
4 String Banjo: D G B D
Tuners themselves can go out of tune as well. Most have a function for calibration. Every tuner is different, so be sure to check the owner’s manual to see how this can be done.
Aside from technical tuner errors tuning, you can also experience physical/mechanical-tuning errors as well. There can be many reasons why an instrument becomes out of tune. Here are a couple possibilities:
New strings require a break-in period or stretching and take time to settle in. String bending stretches strings and can contribute to this problem. Another common occurrence is use of the whammy bar on your tremolo system. Hard use of the bar can really put an instrument out tune, especially on non-locking nut tremolos. These types of stress are some of the basic nuances when dealing with being out of tune.
String tension can be lost thru string slippage. Slippage can occur due to the following:
- Badly worn tuning machines (Gears can slip over time)
- Ball ends are not seated against bridge plate
- String binding in the nut or saddle slot
- Poorly tied to tie block (classical guitars)
- Strings poorly wound around tuning post
When re-tuning is necessary, most of the time, the string is slipping at the tuning machine.
Here is one method of winding the strings around the tuning machines to prevent string slippage. This is a step by step guide to restringing your electric guitar.
Bring the string down the center of the peg head and thread it out towards the tuner’s knob.
Pass the string up and under itself.
Your end result should have the strings own winding “clamp” down on it to prevent string slippage. This should mitigate your tuning problems. I hope this helps you stay in tune. Be sure to check out the How to video on replacing guitar nuts.